The 2019 legislative session ended early Saturday morning – just a few days late – after many sleepless nights. The bills haven’t been signed by the Governor yet (there are many pages to read for typos and poison pills), but I’m going to write this blog anyway.
First, I should say that every story is a matter of perspective. News headlines will tell session stories about political gridlock, “compromise,” and winners and losers.
That is not the story we care to tell.
Our story is about using our political imaginations and dreaming about what will be possible down the road in our state. Remember, the GOP state Senate only has a two-seat majority— and everyone is up for reelection next year. In the words of First Lady Gwen Walz, “We are coming for you.”
This year is only the beginning of a longer journey toward progress and liberation. The decisions made this session will greatly impact people’s lives, and it doesn’t end here.
Thank you to everyone activists, leaders, elected officials, and staff for your heart, effort, and commitment to dignity and justice.
Here’s the progress we made on our 2019 legislative priorities.
- Health Care
- Protected MinnesotaCare and Medicaid by repealing the sunset of the provider tax (the rate is lowered from 2% to 1.8%).
- Stopped the #HealthCareHeist – the moratorium on nonprofit HMO conversions is extended from July 1, 2019 to July 1, 2023.
- Reined in Rx greed holding ‘pharmaceutical benefits managers’ accountable – cause even the middlemen have middlemen in our broken health care system.
- Advanced a public option through the ONECare proposal (it passed the House but was not included in final budget negotiations)
- Blocked bad stuff: stopped the GOP senate from cutting dental and vision benefits, cutting MinnesotaCare, tying the state’s hands from ever passing a public option, etc.
- Paid Time to Care
- Statewide Earned Sick and Safe Time and Paid Family & Medical Leave passed the DFL House. It was not heard in the GOP Senate.
- Restore the Vote – Passed the DFL House. Was not heard in the GOP Senate.
- Dignity at Work – The DFL House removed the ‘severe and pervasive’ barrier to reporting sexual harassment with strong bipartisan support. It was not included in final negotiations.
- 100% Campaign – The DFL House passed a bill that would move Minnesota to 100% clean energy by 2050. The GOP Senate didn’t hear it. (Read what happened in MinnPost).